Much has been said about Ford’s SYNC system. The in-car infotainment system is a joint development from Ford and Microsoft. Since it’s debut on members of Ford’s fleet including the Taurus, Lincoln MKS, and Mercury Sable it has received rave reviews. 2010 is shaping up to be a big year for the voice-activated system with a slew of announcements that have been made over the past couple of weeks.
The first announcement was Ford’s plans to open up its API to developers. Meaning that very soon SYNC could have its own app store. According to Engadget, students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn showed off two apps. The apps called FollowMe and SYNCcast allowed drivers to access internet radio and the navigation system with just the sound of the driver’s voice. It may not seem like that big a deal, but this is huge for anyone that’s ever had to fumble around with their GPS trying to key in a destination or attempted to change an internet radio station while the car is moving.
The next big news coming Ford’s way is SYNC’s mobile Wi-Fi system. According to the press release, the second generation of the SYNC system will be able to use a USB mobile broadband modem or air-card. By plugging in the card, users can turn their car into a rolling hotspot, capable of connecting mobile devices to the internet no matter where they are. Those worried about strange folks piggybacking of your car’s signal can breathe easy. The car’s default Wi-Fi security protocals runs on Stgandard WiFi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) meaning that users will have to use a randomly generated password to connect to the net and for every new device, the user must grant the new gizmo permission to connect.
The choice to use a USB drive was a smart move on Ford’s part. By choosing a dongle, it ensures that a user can use just about any USB device to connect. And to keep SYNC current, a simple software update could be pushed. So when we start transferring over to USB 3.0, SYNC users won’t have to be stuck using the slower 2.0 version.
Expanding mobile connectivity to the automobile is a no-brainer. As we become more engaged in our digital world with our ever increasing number of devices, people want the ability to be connected no matter what. This a big step for Ford in terms of technology and innovation, now let’s see if it can make people start buying American cars again.